Another former East Hidalgo correctional officer jailed on bribery charges

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Amber Estrada, a former employee of the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa, is in custody after being charged with bribery, the Department of Justice announced.

A McAllen grand jury returned the indictment against the 21-year-old on Wednesday. The DOJ release said she is expected to appear before Judge Peter E. Ormsby on Monday morning. 

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick said that federal authorities discovered various forms of contraband in January 2019 in the detention center, a correctional facility under contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.

The indictment alleges Estrada accepted things of value in exchange for bringing contraband into the detention center while employed as a correctional officer. She faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine. 

Four other former correctional officers at East Hidalgo have been charged with crimes related to the contraband-smuggling scheme, and another faces a charge of sexual abuse of an inmate.

Former correctional officers Jayson Catalan and Jhaziel Loredo recently pleaded guilty to accepting bribes for smuggling contraband into the facility. Prosecutors said Catalan smuggled food to prisoners in exchange for money from their families while Loredo admitted to smuggling drugs into the facility for money.  

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